Release:2018, Vol. 4. №1
About the author:Elena B. Plotnikova, Cand. Sci. (Hist.), Associate Professor, Head of the Department of Sociology, Perm State University; firstname.lastname@example.org
This paper aims at revealing research opportunities of mixed methodology in the studying of modernization projects. The author focuses on reaching a consistent “thick” description of the research object — a “region” — that could grasp the relevant traits of the phenomenon and could be classified and typified to suggest the trajectory of change in the characteristics embraced by the socio-cultural portrait of the regions. With the help of qualitative research methods, researchers widen the scope of data collection with the opportunity of making processes of modernization accountable as a part of the socio-cultural portrait. The research object also expanded with the inclusion of the concept “lifeworld of the regional/local communities” as conditioned by modernization projects.
The “lifeworld” context involves reaching mutual understanding by subjects as participants of communications and social institutes. The level of such understanding is assessed together with reflecting on differences in meanings attributed to facts and events, on reasons of mutual distrust and barriers to concerted (inter)actions, with discovering of evident and latent conflicts between and within groups involved into modernization processes.
Such is the starting point for the choice of methods of data collection, of research tools development, of sampling of informants. An inquiry into concrete modernization projects requires concentrating attention on the creative activities of people as an open innovation system. To meet this requirement, the research design is based on mixed methodology, which consequentially employs quantitative and qualitative stages, matches both methodological perspectives, principle of “consequential input”, with the survey data laying basis for the use of in-depth and narrative interviews with participants of modernization projects. Survey enables to structure communities’ “lifeworld”, to define social groups differentially related to types of “lifeworlds”: traditional, adaptational, and modernizational types. Combination of in-depth and narrative interviews helps to study “lifeworld” areas of participants. The central goal of the proposed qualitative tool is elicitation of information concerning the most significant points of (mis)understandings arising among participants of modernization projects.